From the editors
THE KRONPRINZ TOWER. Projects for the National Centre for Contemporary Arts by Students of the Institute for Theory and Design in Architecture (Braunschweig, Germany)
FA+ (Ingrid Falk & Gustavo Aguerre) THE MYTHICAL FOUNDATION OF KALININGRAD
FORGOTTEN KANT AND THE KANT-BRAND IN KOENIGSBERG
MOSKOVSKII PROSPECT & THE SHADOWS AROUND ALTSTADT
LIGHT THE CRYSTALS OF KALININGRAD!
Kalle Brolin, Kristina Muntzing
Dmitrii Bulatov, Pavel Savel'ev
ACEPHALUS: OPTICAL MODELS
TO GENIUS LOCI KALININGRAD AND KOENIGSBERG
THE RAILWAY STATION AND ENTRANCE TO THE CITY OF KALININGRAD
THE BRIDGES AND "THE PREGEL'S ODOR"
THE CATHEDRAL AND KANT FOR EVERYONE, OR IS GOD FEARSOME WITHOUT MORAL
THE AMBER ROOM
THE HOUSE OF MACHINERY: THE RECONSTRACTION AND EXPLOITATION OF THE POPULATION
A STROLL THROUGH THE CENTER
THE MOST PROFOUND SECRET OF ONE KOENIGSBERG LAWYER: HOFFMANN
KALININGRAD IN THE YEAR 2020 - A NOT QUITE FICTITIOUS CONVERSATION
John Craig Freeman, Greg Ulmer
IMAGING KALININGRAD: THE SEVEN BRIGES OF KOENIGSBERG
FORMA URBIS. SYMBOLIC PARALLELS
TRACES OF A VIRTUAL HISTORY IN A VERY REAL CITY
Igor Isaev, Dmitrii Demidenko
MONUMENT TO 1200 GUARDSMEN IN KALININGRAD
BEFORE THE CITY
A LEGEND ABOUT FIVE LITTLE ULRICHEN AND FERRYMAN ANDRE
NATASHA POTERYASHINA. Inteview
THE UNDREAMED OF CITY
Andrei Monastyrsky, Sabina Haensgen
EMPTY CENTER K.
IN OR OUT
BASTIONS IN DIAMONDS AND EMERALDS
KOENIGSBERG'S SPIRITUAL HERITAGE IN TONS, ITEMS AND SACKS. From the history of lost and found cultural heritage
THE BRIDGE THAT THE "RUSSIANS COULDN'T PULL DOWN"
BINARY STATES OF "K" CITY
IN THE FLOW: FOUNTAIN SEASON
WE ALL ARE GOING TO BE THERE
FRAGMENT OF A SYMPHONY FOR SLOW READING: IVANOV AND HIS SURROUNDINGS
THE FIRE HYDRANT
THE WATERFALL HERACLES' BOLT
HOAR-STONES AND BOUNDARY SYMBOLS
MUSCOVITES ARE HANGING
LIGHT UP DOM SOVETOV
A WHITE SEAGULL ABOVE THE CITY: THE SYMBOLS OF THE OLD NEW CITY
WRITING OF DREAMS
CONCRETE ELEMENTS OF KALININGRAD
CULTURE IN A "FOREIGN" SPACE: AN INTRODUCTION
DESTINATION - KALININGRAD
FROM KALININGRAD DICTIONARY
THE ROYAL CASTLE
THE HOUSE OF SOVIETS
THE COUNTRY OF PENSIONERS - OR THE GERMANS
CHRIST THE SAVIOR CATHEDRAL
LIFE AND EGGS (A sketch about trams)
TO BE IN THE MOOD FOR PACKING
Ingeborg Strobl ANIMALS IN KALININGRAD AND A MOSAIC
THE TOWER-REDAN "KRONPRINZ"
THE ROAD TO BERLIN: FROM EPIC TO BANAL. Interview with Valerii Bugrov
WILD WEST OF RUSSIA
Eugenii Umanskii, Karpenko-Karpenko
ATTIC OF RECOGNITION
TOWN PLANNING MATHEMATICS
THE SMALL SCULPTURE "GIRL"
MAN AND WOMAN
KANT'S BRIDES: A READYMADE PHOTOGRAPHIC CHRONOTOPE
FOLLOWING SILENT WORDS
KOENIGSBERG-KALININGRAD. THE TASTE OF MARZIPAN
THE MOST PROFOUND SECRET OF ONE KOENIGSBERG LAWYER: HOFFMANN
Ilya Dementiev / Kaliningrad, Russia
Successfully frightening a 21st century person seems next to impossible. We have witnessed all the nightmares awake in anti-utopian novels, we have mastered the entire range of earthly delights and the depths of human degradation. The word "Romantic" has become the trademark for a hopelessly obsolete way of life, fly-blown and written in clumsy handwriting on a yellow catalogue card in a library. It is only in the reading room that you can become familiar with it, you may not take it home!
The great Koenigsberg Romantic Hoffmann was among those who foretold how absurd our history would prove to be. What do we know about him? Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann was born in winter, in January 1776, on French Street in the capital of Eastern Prussia. He studied at the Department of Law of Koenigsberg University and then worked at some courts. He died, to be symmetrical, in the summer of 1822 in Berlin. He remains in encyclopedias as a great writer who embodied "the spirit of German Romanticism." He composed music and used to draw. He moved apartments in Germany. He was the contemporary of Napoleon and Byron. He published the worldly wisdom of one cat and many other brilliant texts.
The very name of Hoffmann contains many secrets and hidden meanings. What was the Christian name of that ordinary German lawyer? "Ernst" means "serious" in German. At the same time, seriousness is balanced with an intrigue: "Theodor" means "he who loves God" in ancient Greek, while "Amadeus" means the same in Latin. Hoffmann changed his name from Wilhelm to Amadeus himself: he was said to have done so in memory of Mozart. Yet perhaps that was just a scholars' legend, and Hoffmann simply used his favorite hint, creating a doppelganger in himself? Nowadays this would be called an identity crisis. Here, we have changed the entire city's name, and what? Through rusty German hatches and museum closets, the ancient Koenigsberg beckons to Kaliningraders.
After having created a double in himself, Hoffmann began to create doubles on paper. Even without doubles, his world is inhabited by strange creatures: ghosts and automatons, hysterical girls and dreamy students, professors and lawyers. Practically all of them go mad, in some way or another. Here, a young man does some shopping and then climbs to the top of a tower with his girlfriend in order to have a look at the nearby mountains. Suddenly "blood beats and boils in his veins," "he let out the terrifying roar of an aroused beast," and "with furious force he seized Clara and wanted to throw her down." The girl is saved by her brother, and the madman falls to the pavement and crushes his head ("The Sand Man"). There, "on the ground incandesced by the hot sun" lies a ragged peasant woman, who was "knocked down by the weight of her basket packed to the top with brushwood." This scene, in which the woman is ready to die from the very first lines, begins the story "Little Zaches." The scene ends in a rather improbable manner for the philistine reader: "a small crystal carriage drawn by two glittering dragonflies and driven by a silvery pheasant" descends from the sky, and the passengers take their places in this extravagant vehicle.
It was proven long ago that there is nothing objective and that everything depends on viewpoint. From some points of view the entire history of this city turns out to be yet another weird Hoffmannesque story. The city seems to have looked into the magic mirror of Castle Pond, giving birth to a variety of deformed, mocking, grotesque images. The old castle threw a glance in the water and turned into the House of Soviets, with its infernal outlook and equally infernal seductiveness for tourists! Kneiphof Island was once inhabited by thousands of citizens and was full of life with trams, starlings on the trees, and courting couples. What has happened to it? It was reflected in the mirror-like pond and was depopulated. Strange statues from the city park took the place of people in love, and the Cathedral that stood roofless for years is now becoming a museum filled with dead exhibits. The famous Koenigsberg bridges merged together to form a noisy viaduct, and the new bridge, a symbol of the epoch indeed, points with one end to an apartment house and the other into a void. There is a theatre in the Stock Exchange, a gym in the church, and only the building of the Secret Police office has retained its original owners (let us not guess what this could mean; as one of Hoffmann's characters believed, "thinking in itself is a dangerous operation, and thinking practiced by dangerous people is even more dangerous"). Even Hoffmann's native street was entirely destroyed by the brave British air force, so that the site of the old town is now covered with turf and grass, and the house where the writer was born has turned into a stone covered with graffiti. Kant on his pedestal is a double, and the original is hidden somewhere in an underground vault. The city seems to have been bewitched by some fairy from Hoffmann's family, and we shall never break the spell until we find the magic word.
In which book does the hidden formula that would reveal the beauty of this world reside? How can one hear the whispers of lovers on a park bench, the melodies of happy Koenigsberg birds, or catch the prudent hopes of its deceased citizens? Oh, the realists who now live among the concrete squares need them so desperately!
Those who are unaware of the precise instruction hidden in a great-grandpa's garret are left with reading Hoffmann: "On Ascension Day, about three o'clock in the afternoon, a young man dashed through the Black Gate in Dresden and ran right into a basket of apples and pies which an ugly old woman had set out for sale. The crash was prodigious; what wasn't squashed or broken was scattered, and hordes of street urchins delightedly divided the booty which this adroit young man had provided for them." Do not these first lines of "The Golden Pot" suggest a way for those who are not afraid of facing magic? At times, magic becomes blocked by an operator: an elderly Koenigsberger told me that soon after the war the once huge apples decreased to the size of a hazelnut. A size no good for selling to student passersby! But all things must pass, and, happily, wars are no exclusion.
The story ends as follows: "Can anything else but poetry reveal itself as the sacred harmony of all beings, as the deepest secret of nature?" That harmony has been revealed to the Romantic Hoffmann. It can be revealed to us too, if we try.
Translation by A. Matveeva